- No matter how much you believe in something, it doesn’t make up for actual sailing skills
We’ve posted a lot of animal stories lately. Everybody likes animals, but at least this author feels like a change of pace is needed.
So, let’s do something different today. How about the story of Italian flat-earthers whose journey to the edge of the world didn’t exactly go according to plan?
The debacle happened back in April, but the story about it was made public only this week, according to Wanted in Milan. One of the reasons for the secrecy might be that in April Italy was under strict COVID-19 lockdown.
The authorities may have wanted to discourage others imitating the reckless – and at the time illegal – stunt pulled off by the couple. And for good reason.
But what did the couple actually do, then? Well, they are of the inexplicable opinion that the Earth is flat, and that its edge is on Lampedusa.
Lampedusa is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, some 140 miles from the coast of Sicily. How the couple determined it’s the edge of the world, nobody knows.
The belief seems even more alien considering that the island is a mere 80 miles from the coast of Tunisia. As far as we’re aware, Tunisia is not located beyond the boundaries of the physical world. But what do we know.
In any case, that’s the belief these people held and decided to act upon. Somehow they wanted to show that by reaching the edge of the world, they would once and for all prove that the Earth is indeed flat.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe
The pair of unidentified flat Earth adventurers – who hail from the region of Veneto in northern Italy – started their journey by hopping into their car and heading south. Once they reached the port city of Termini Imerese in northern Sicily, they sold the car.
With the money, they bought a boat. Despite having practically zero sailing or navigation ability, the couple then took to the sea.
But hey, they had faith in their cause. That’s got to count for something, I guess.
Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that reality often doesn’t give a hoot or a holler about what you believe in. Due to their inability to actually steer their boat, the couple ended up sailing towards the island of Ustica.
Ustica is around 60 miles northwest from Termini Imerese, while Lampedusa is to the south of Sicily. So the couple was sailing in pretty much the opposite direction from where they actually wanted to go.
If going in the completely wrong direction wasn’t enough, the incompetent adventures were barely able to make landfall on the island. Local media reports that the pair reached the harbor on Ustica “tired, thirsty, and risking shipwreck”.
Salvatore Zichici, a doctor at the maritime department of the Italian Ministry of Health, was apparently pretty flabbergasted by the would-be sailors.
“The funny thing is that they oriented themselves with a compass – an instrument that works on the basis of terrestrial magnetism, a principle that they, as flat-earthers, should refuse,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
So… They couldn’t read a compass either. Sheesh, make some preparations, would you?
They Fought the Law and the Law Won
If Zichici was dumbfounded, so were the mayor, the carabinieri, and the coast guard of Ustica.
First of all, they were surprised the couple could ever make it that far. Secondly, they were probably trying to comprehend just how many laws they were breaking.
As we mentioned, in April, Italy was completely locked down as the coronavirus was rampaging through the nation. Therefore, there shouldn’t have been any unannounced boats coming from the mainland to Ustica.
The couple was given medical attention and promptly escorted back across the sea to Palermo. Once there, they were quarantined on their boat for 15 days.
That didn’t sit well with them, so they decided to escape. By taking their boat and sailing back out to the sea. Because that worked so well last time.
This time, however… Wasn’t any different. Despite them getting a three-hour head start, the Palermo harbor master apprehended the pair again near the Sicilian coast.
The law enforcement officers deduced that keeping the adventurers on their boat wasn’t a good idea. So, they decided to quarantine them on land. They escaped again.
The story doesn’t tell exactly what happened, but they apparently ended up in the home of a “mythomaniac” man who claimed – falsely – that he was COVID-19 positive. How this plays into the big picture, we have zero idea. But it’s what happened.
Finally, the couple was returned to their home by land, to the public’s “understandable general relief” as La Stampa put it. Though it’s probably only a matter of time before they try to pull something again.
This isn’t the only flat earth-related misadventure we’ve seen during this year. In February, “Mad” Mike Hughes attempted to launch himself 5,000 feet into the air in a homemade rocket.
Like the Italian couple, Hughes was trying to prove the Earth was really flat. He reasoned that by taking off the planet’s surface, he could bring back proof by taking some real pictures of the disc-shaped Earth, unlike those hacks at NASA.
Sadly, it wasn’t a long, long time before this rocket man made contact with the ground again. Shortly after launch, his steam-powered craft crashed into a Californian desert, instantly killing Hughes.
If there’s a lesson to learn from all of this, let’s make it this one: the next time you try to debunk science, please do it in a way that doesn’t risk killing yourself, or anyone else for that matter.